MANILA -- Sales of automotive vehicle manufacturers in the country rose to 425,673 units in 2017, up  18.4 percent from 359,572 units in 2016, joint report of Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) showed Wednesday.

Commercial vehicle buoyed the industry sales last year as it rose 26.4 percent to 286,249 units from 226,384 unit sales in 2016.

All sub-segment of commercial vehicle likewise grew double digit.

Light commercial vehicle sales increased by 29.7 percent to 189,248 units in 2017 from 145,863 units in its previous year.

Asian utility vehicles grew sales by 20.3 percent 79,886 units in 2017 compared to the 66,380 unit sales in 2016.

Sales of light trucks as well as trucks and buses categories four and five had increments ranging from 15 to 39 percent.

Light trucks sold a total of 9,888 units last year while trucks and buses category four had 4,845 unit sales and category five with 2,382 units.

On the other hand, sales of passenger cars grew single-digit in 2017 from a double-digit growth in its previous year.

Sales of passenger cars went up by 4.7 percent last year from a 14.4-percent growth in 2016.

Passenger cars’ sales reached 139,424 units in 2017, improving from 133,188 unit sales in 2016.

“We ended 2017 with a positive note. Aggressive promos, new model updates and the hard work of members helped contribute to expanding the Philippine market,” CAMPI President Rommel Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez said that CAMPI and TMA surpassed its target sales of 400,500 units in 2017, and nearly hit the entire industry’s target of 450,000.

The other industry group, Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID), has yet to report its sales for 2017. But for January to September 2017 period, AVID sales reached 75,947 units.

The country’s automotive industry is seen to breach the 500,000-mark in sales in the previous year.

“While exceeding our sales target for the year, we remain cautious in our projection for 2018. CAMPI remains confident that the market will be able to adjust to the new auto excise tax in 2018,” the CAMPI chief noted.

Meanwhile, fueling the growth last year was the industry’s sales for December, which jumped by 33.4 percent to 45,494 units from 34,104 units in the same period in 2016.

Top brands in 2017 were Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford, Honda, and Isuzu. (PNA)